California Memory came home like a bullet to cause a boilover in the G1 Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday. A $31 outsider, he motored home to defeat King Dancer (Danehill Dancer) and Mighty High (Peintre Celebre) running away at the end of 2000m.
California Memory (USA) won the Prix de la Broutillerie at Chantilly when racing as Portus Blendium before his sale to clients of trainer Tony Cruz. “We believed in this horse,” Cruz said. “He had run well over 2000 metres in France and he could be the next big horse in Hong Kong.”
There was no semblance of fluke about the victory…the grey gelding accelerated over the final 400m in a blistering 21.63s. He was being set for the G1 Hong Kong Derby last year before suffering a setback.
Cruz was in a buoyant mood after his latest elite level victory. He indicated California Memory would be set for the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth 11 Cup and G1 Champions & Chater Cup.
California Memory (5g Highest Honor – Kalpita by Spinning World) is from a homebred Niarchos mare who has also thrown winners by Bering and Arch.
Second dam Kamaina (Mr. Prospector) is a half-sister to the dam of G1 winners Bosra Sham and Hector Protector.
He is by two-time French champion sire Highest Honor (Kenmare) who died in June 2009. He was a G1 winner of the Prix d’Ispahan and had been based at Haras du Quesnay near Deauville.
Highest Honor’s sire sons in Australia have been restricted to West Australian shuttler Verglas and G1 Racing Post Trophy winner Medaaly who was one of the first stallions Sheikh Mohammed shuttled to Australia. He was based at Inverness Stud in NSW for a one-off season a decade ago.